How To Fix A Malfunctioning Pool Pump

4 May 2016
 Categories: , Blog


None of the luxuries of home quite compare to that of a swimming pool on a hot summer day. Yet nobody relishes the prospect of diving into a pool covered with leaves and other detritus. If you have a pool whose filtration system doesn't seem to be working quite the way it should, read on. This article will outline how to troubleshoot one possible cause—vacuum leaks in the in pump system.

Two Potential Issues

In almost all cases, a pool pump fails to perform its given task—that of circulating water through the filtration system—as the result of vacuum leaks. Such leaks may take one of two forms: pre-pump or post-pump. Pre-pump air leaks, also known as suction leaks, take place in that part of the pump system responsible for suctioning water from the pool. Post-pump leaks, on the other hand, take place in the part of the system that returns the filtered water to the pool.

Two Simple Fixes

Two common issues may lead to either of such leaks developing:

  • excessively low water level
  • strainer baskets that have become clogged

Ensure that the water level in the pool is high enough that the skimmer inlets are submerged fully. Likewise, empty the strainer baskets of any and all debris. Addressing these two issues is often the simplest way to get your pump system working correctly again.

Pre-Pump Leaks

It's easy to determine if a pre-pump leak is the source of your problem. With the pump running, simply take a look through the strainer basket cover.  If you notice bubbles in the water flowing past, you can be sure you've got a suction leak on your hands.

Now turn the pump off and unscrew the basket cover. You should notice a rubber O-ring just below it; this is used to help create an air tight seal. When the O-ring begins to break down, leaks ensue. Replace a cracked or degraded O-ring. If the existing O-ring seems okay, smear it with petroleum jelly and screw the cover back on nice and tight.

If you are still noticing air bubbles in the water, it's time to check on a second O-ring—one that can be found at the head of the input line just before the strainer. There is a removable joint connecting the strainer to this input line; by unscrewing it, you can access the O-ring. Replace or lubricate it as necessary.

Post-Pump Leaks

Post-pump leaks are different from pre-pump leaks in that they don't involve air getting in the lines—they involve water getting out. This reduces the pressure of the system, making it unable to properly filter your water. Allow the pump system to run for several minutes and then have a helper turn it off while you position yourself on the outlet side of the pump. Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of water leaking from the return pipes. In most cases, the problem can be corrected by replacing faulty or cracked pipes.

For more information, contact companies like Brown's Plumbing, Pumps & Spas.